Bauer Media hit with £2.7m Australian libel payout over magazine articles about actress Rebel Wilson - Press Gazette

Bauer Media hit with £2.7m Australian libel payout over magazine articles about actress Rebel Wilson

Actress Rebel Wilson has been awarded record libel damages of 4.56 million Australian dollars (£2,685,000) over magazine articles she said cost her roles in Hollywood films.

A Supreme Court jury in Australia’s Victoria state decided in June that the articles, which claimed that Ms Wilson she lied about her age, the origins of her first name and her upbringing in Sydney, were defamatory.

Justice John Dixon said at the Supreme Court in Melbourne on 13 September that a substantial award was required to “vindicate” Wilson after her reputation as an “actress of integrity was wrongly damaged.”

Bauer Media, publisher of the Australian magazines Woman’s Day, Australian Women’s Weekly, NW and OK, said it was considering the judgment.

Germany-based Bauer is also one of the UK’s biggest magazine publishers.

Wilson, 37, who is best known for the comedies “Pitch Perfect” and “Bridesmaids,” was in London on the day the damages were announced, and her lawyers were unable talk to her about the decision.

Wilson said on Twitter that the case “wasn’t about the money.”

She tweeted: “I’m looking forward to helping out some great Australian charities and supporting the Oz film industry with the damages I’ve received. Also looking forward to getting back to my career and entertaining everyone!”

Her lawyer Richard Leder said outside the court the damages were about four times higher than the previous Australian record for a defamation case.

Wilson’s legal team would also apply for Bauer to pay all her legal costs, Leder said.

The actress originally sought damages of more than seven million Australian dollars.

Bauer Media had branded that damage claim “extraordinarily large” and made on the “most tenuous of basis.”

Bauer lawyer Georgina Schoff told the judge that Wilson had failed to prove the articles caused her financial losses.

But Bauer failed to prove the articles published in 2015 were substantially true or that they were unlikely to harm her career.

The jury found that Bauer had said Wilson lied about her age, claiming to be six years younger, and had falsely claimed to have been named Rebel at birth.

They also found Bauer had said Wilson lied about having a hallucination about winning an Academy Award while sick with malaria, about her parents being dog trainers, about being related to US entertainment mogul Walt Disney and about being raised in a “ghetto” area of Sydney.

Wilson blamed the articles for film contracts being terminated.

Picture: Credit, Reuters.



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